Selling and Pricing Work on Paper

Hello my dear art friend,

Today I'm talking about working on paper, specifically how to price work on paper relative to your other work, and the perceived value of working on paper.

First up, let's talk about the perceived value of work on paper. Historically work on paper has been seen as being of lesser value than work on canvas or wood panel. And sometimes this makes sense. The cost of paper is much much lower than the cost of a stretched canvas or wood panel. So the value of the raw materials is quite different. And a lot of artists do studies or sketches on paper before creating the final work on canvas. But some artists put just as much time and effort into their paper works as their canvas works. So how can you handle this perceived difference in value when it comes to pricing? 

Consider a few things:

  • If you see your paper works as being just as valuable as your works on canvas - are you educating your audience and highlighting the craftsmanship and the detail in these works? 
  • If you’re framing your works on paper, does your audience understand the cost of this to you as the artist? Professional framing can be really expensive, but can make your work look its absolute best.
  • Have you considered mounting your paper works on wood panel - giving the impression that they are just as substantial as work on canvas?

All three of these ideas can raise the perceived value of your work, and allow you to price them accordingly.

I myself price my work on paper lower than my canvas work simply because my paper pieces are like sketches for me. Beautiful, but much less time-consuming than my paintings.

Something I have noticed in the industry is that artists who sell both works on canvas and works on paper sell those paper pieces for less. But artists who only work on paper sell those works for the same price I might sell a canvas painting for. 

At the end of the day I like to remember that any thing can be any price. It is up to you to set the value of your work and educate your audience to appreciate it at that price.

One last thing I want to discuss is shipping your work on paper. I know many artists roll their paper pieces and ship them in a tube, but I like to ship mine flat, protected by plastic and sandwiched between two pieces of cardboard. I think treating your paper pieces with this extra care can also raise their perceived value. And if I’m shipping framed paper pieces I only use acrylic glass and I make sure it is well-protected from scratches. 

Alright, friends, I hope this has been a helpful chat about selling work on paper. If you really love painting on paper, but have been dissuaded from doing it because of perceived value, I challenge you to find a successful artist who works on paper and let them be your inspiration.

Thanks for being here! 

All the best,


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